I’ve experienced a recurring theme in conversation lately…
Whenever the topic of meditation comes up (which is pretty often for me), most people are well aware of the benefits and want to meditate, but very few people actually meditate regularly. Basically, everyone knows how advantageous meditation is, yet no one actually does it.
Meditation is the most foundational practice. It is the leverage point for the rest of your life because it influences literally everything else you do. Starting the day with meditation, as opposed to immediately throwing yourself into the fray of technological distraction, establishes an undertone of calm focus for the rest of the day.
So why is something that is universally recognized for its expansive benefits practiced by so few? What’s with the resistance?
How to Turn Meditation Into a Daily Habit
Well, when it comes to creating a regular meditation habit, there are three main excuses:
- “I want to meditate but I don’t know how.”
- “I can’t stick to a meditation habit.”
- “I don’t have time to meditate.”
As you’re about to see, all of these are unjustified and can easily be overcome.
Here’s an easy, simple and quick way to build a meditation habit that makes all of those excuses irrelevant.
The Snooze Time Meditation
This meditation should be the very first thing you do when you wake up every morning.
1. Use the snooze option on your alarm
Chances are that you wake up to an alarm, either an actual alarm clock or your phone. When your alarm goes off, hit the snooze button and, instead of going back to sleep, use that snooze time as meditation time.
2. Sit up on your bed
After you hit the snooze button, simply sit up as straight as possible. You can cross your legs on your bed or put your feet on the floor, whichever is more comfortable. I recommend sitting up because if you don’t, you’ll probably just fall back asleep.
3. Take 10 slow, deep breaths
Breathe into your belly, preferably through your nose. This will help calm your mind and relax your body.
4. Observe your thoughts for the duration of the snooze time
Just observe your thoughts. That’s it. No need to judge or resist them, just witness. Having expectations will just make you feel like you’re “doing it wrong.” And really there’s no right or wrong way to meditate. So let go of expectations.
Here’s an analogy that might help: You are the sky and your thoughts are merely clouds passing by. Simply observe the clouds as they come and go.
If you don’t wake up to an alarm, here’s an alternate strategy. You can just approximate 2-5 minutes of meditation after taking 10 deep breaths. Don’t worry about the exactitude of the time. It’s the regularity of meditation that makes it most effective, not how exact the duration of your meditation time is.
I also recommend 5 minutes or less, to begin with because you’re much more likely to stick to it (even a 20-minute session will seem daunting at first and is easier to avoid than to do). You will get far more benefits from meditating for 2 minutes every day than by meditating for an hour once a month.
Think about it like showering or brushing your teeth, just for your mind and spirit. You don’t shower for an hour once a month to clean your body, right? A short, daily practice is far more effective than a long, but infrequent, practice.
How This Simple Meditation Habit Annihilates the Three Big Excuses
“I want to meditate but I don’t know how.” – Can’t you take 10 deep breaths and observe your thoughts for a few minutes? C’mon, everyone can do it.
“I can’t stick to a meditation habit.” – You brush your teeth and get dressed every day, right? A short, simple meditation habit is easier than both of those. It requires no objects or tools either. And it’s basically doing nothing. Can’t you sit and do nothing for a few minutes a day?
“I don’t have time to meditate.” – Everyone has 5 minutes to set aside every day. If you think you don’t, you have to really reevaluate your time management skills. Plus, if it’s literally the first thing you do when you wake up, there’s absolutely no excuse. Wake up 5 minutes earlier if you have to.
Oh, and then there’s the old Zen proverb, “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” You see, meditation will greatly enhance your productivity and make it seem like you have more time each day.
Everyone can incorporate this simple meditation habit into their lives. There’s really no excuse not to.
How to Stick to It
Think of it as a system, not a goal. Having a systems approach, instead of a goal-oriented approach, will help you stick to any habit. What this means is focusing on the system or the process, as opposed to what you’re going to get out of it.
So instead of focusing on achieving enlightenment or having no thoughts by meditating, simply focus on meditating for a few minutes every day without being attached to the results. The goal is the process and the process is the goal. It sounds simple, but it’s a powerful change in mindset that will actually give you more results in the long run.
If you think you need a reminder for the first few days, you can set an alarm or email reminder for yourself at night. In doing this, you’ll remind yourself the night before to meditate when you wake up the next morning. Another technique that I personally use is to set the intention of meditating the next morning right before falling asleep. This solidifies the intent to follow through with it.
Meditation doesn’t have to be fancy, long or complicated. It’s not only for monks sitting in the Himalayas. Anyone and everyone can meditate, regardless of who you are or what kind of lifestyle you live.
Make a promise to yourself to start meditating tomorrow morning and stick to it. You have no excuse not to.